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Historic Town of Zabid

Factors affecting the property in 2000*
  • Deliberate destruction of heritage
  • Erosion and siltation/ deposition
  • Housing
  • Identity, social cohesion, changes in local population and community
  • Management activities
  • Relative humidity
  • Solid waste
  • Other Threats:

    Lack of conservation measures

Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Renovations seriously threatening the authenticity and integrity of the Great Mosque
  • No system for the evacuation of waste water
  • Increase of the permanent humidity of the ground, posing the threat of erosion to the brick walls 
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2000
Requests approved: 4 (from 1994-1999)
Total amount approved : 64,167 USD
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2000

A UNESCO mission visited Zabid in November 1999 and informed the World Heritage Centre that the city is in a bad state of conservation. In July 2000 the consultant in charge of the periodic reports, discussed the problem with the GOPHCY (General Organization for the Preservation of the Historic Cities of Yemen) who agreed that the situation is totally out of their control and that an international action will be necessary to help seek a solution.

The Yemeni Authorities are presently discussing at the highest level, the ways of informing the Committee about this situation and eventually requesting for the inclusion of the City in the List of the World Heritage in Danger.

Since the date of nomination, it has been difficult for the Government to give the City top priorities due to the country's difficult economic and social situation.

Due to a lack of conservation measures, the City is now facing huge threats that are endangering its authenticity and integrity:

·  Serious deterioration of the built-up heritage (40% of the residential houses being replaced by compact cement and multi-storey buildings)

·  The remains of the houses in the City are rapidly deteriorating, due to the prevailing low income of the inhabitants

·  Since the suq activities have been transferred outside the City, the suq is almost empty and free from any type of activity and the shops are falling apart

·  The traditional economic role of the City as the centre of its micro-region has vanished

·  The city in general, is lacking any conservation and rehabilitation concepts.

By reviewing all these elements, the mission was of the opinion that the situation of the city corresponds to the following criteria of danger: Ascertained danger: (b), (c) and (d) and Potential danger: (b) and (c).

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2000
24 COM VIII.31
Historic City of Zabid (Yemen)

VIII.31 Historic City of Zabid (Yemen)

The Committee recalled the report on the state of conservation of the Historic City of Zabid, examined by the Bureau at its twenty-fourth extraordinary session that included information on the State Party's request to inscribe the site on the List of World Heritage in Danger. ICOMOS fully supported the findings and recommendations of the UNESCO monitoring mission undertaken in 1999 and the request by the State Party that the site be inscribed on the World Heritage in Danger in view of the serious condition of the historic buildings within the property.

The Committee decided to inscribe the Historic City of Zabid on the List of World Heritage in Danger. The Committee requested the World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS to organize a mission composed of multidisciplinary experts in order to evaluate the situation and recommend further actions.

24 COM X.4-5
List of World Heritage in Danger

X.4 Following the review of the state of conservation reports and at the recommendations of the Bureau, the Committee decided to inscribe the following natural cultural properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger:

  • Fort and Shalamar Gardens of Lahore (Pakistan)
  • Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary (Senegal)
  • Historic City of Zabid (Yemen)

X.5 The Committee did not recommend the deletion of any properties from the List of World Heritage in Danger.

The Bureau is requested to examine additional information that may be available at the time of its session and take the appropriate decision thereupon.

The Bureau may wish to ask the World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS to send a multidisciplinary team of experts to the site in order to evaluate the situation and to assist the national authorities to draw up a programme of corrective action. 

Report year: 2000
Date of Inscription: 1993
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (ii)(iv)(vi)
Danger List (dates): 2000-present
Documents examined by the Committee
arrow_circle_right 24COM (2000)

* : The threats indicated are listed in alphabetical order; their order does not constitute a classification according to the importance of their impact on the property.
Furthermore, they are presented irrespective of the type of threat faced by the property, i.e. with specific and proven imminent danger (“ascertained danger”) or with threats which could have deleterious effects on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (“potential danger”).

** : All mission reports are not always available electronically.